I am not fulfilled being a mother.
Yes, I just said that.
I’ll say it again; motherhood has not fulfilled me. How can that be?! All I’ve ever wanted was to be a mother. I’ve dreamed of what it would be like to hold my own babies as I dressed my Cabbage Patch dolls and combed their yarn-hair. I fantasized about showing off my babies at church and snuggling them while they slept. I yearned for the day I would have my own child and not have to ask to hold them or give them back to anyone else. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. But sometimes I hate it.
Let’s be clear; I love my children. I love them more than life itself. I would die for them. But some days… some days I want to leave. I want to say “see ya” and go do something more exciting, more fulfilling. Because let’s be honest; motherhood is not glamorous. Days and weeks can go by without an ounce of appreciation, without any special moments, without any “it’s all worth it!” epiphanies.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m some sort of defective woman who is selfish and a fraud. Or maybe… maybe a lot more woman struggle with this and we just feel too ashamed talking about it. Mommy guilt is oppressive. It’s not nice to say, “I don’t like motherhood” unless it’s closely followed by, “But it’s all worth it!” It’s not polite to say, “I want to ditch these children today.” unless you also say, “But I’ll miss them so much when I’m gone!” It’s really defeating to admit your lifelong dream is just not as great as you thought it would be. It’s pretty disappointing to realize you’re not as wonderful as you thought you would be at that dream.
There are times in life where one feels fulfilled. I have experienced these times and it’s like my battery is charged. I am the best me. I look back and I think, “Wow, that girl is amazing. She has energy, confidence, charm. She is competent. She is a leader. She is joyful and kind. I would love to be around that girl.” Many days in my normal life as a mother I don’t see that girl. That girl is tired, insecure, and boring. She struggles to get things done. No one wants to listen to her. She is grumpy and mean. I would not want to be her friend. The problem is that my life’s calling right now is to be a mother. I don’t have a choice. It’s the season of life I’m in.
So how can I be fulfilled where I’m at now? How can I be “the best me” all the time? I don’t want to be that mean, grumpy girl all the time. I want to be fulfilled, and I want my kids to enjoy being around me. I want to enjoy being around me. All of us are gifted uniquely, and we have different sweet spots. How can I make my home my sweet spot? How can I truly be fulfilled and not just live in the monotonous, obligatory place I’ve been living?
I don’t have the answers. Honestly, I wish someone would just give me the answers. I would love to rub a bottle and have three wishes. Or have all the money to do all the things. Maybe if I could hire a nanny I could do the fulfilling things? What if I had enough money to go on lavish vacations and then I would be recharged for my mothering duties? If I wished for perfectly behaved kids would it change things? If I were skinny and athletic would I have all the energy and smile more? These things might change my life, might give me bursts of satisfaction, might give me better Facebook posts, but I doubt any permanent change will take place.
Contentment is learned. It’s a decision to be ok where I’m at. It’s a choice to not constantly compare and wish for another life. We have to practice being grateful, to practice listing all the things we are thankful for. Because we all have things to be thankful for, right? It’s all about perspective. It’s about choosing to see the good things and not focusing on the mediocre. Maybe it just comes down to our attitude. If we can’t change our situation or our “sweet spot,” it’ll have to be us. Our minds, our hearts, our words, our focus.
I’m not fulfilled being a mother, but tomorrow I will choose contentment. And maybe I’ll find a tiny sweet spot in my home that I can rest in. A place where that girl who is fun and smiles a lot can be revealed. Maybe she is here, in my home, and I’ve just been ignoring her. Maybe I thought she only came around other times and I was wrong. Tomorrow I’ll find her, and maybe she will choose to stay.